‘The Wind’ Film Review

April 8, 2019
Jonathon Wilson 0
Film, Film Reviews
3.5

Summary

It might run out of steam eventually, but The Wind whips up enough of it in the first place to establish director Emma Tammi as a talent worth keeping an eye on.

3.5

Summary

It might run out of steam eventually, but The Wind whips up enough of it in the first place to establish director Emma Tammi as a talent worth keeping an eye on.

The Wind is a very good film that many people won’t like. And what’s more is that all the elements of it which work best — the unhurried pace, the deliberate ambiguity, the unreliable structure and perspective — are what those people will like the least about it. Lots of low-key, low-budget genre films are this way; admirably unconcerned with playing to a crowd, interested only in the nurturing of an idea, from its earliest seedling state to whatever gnarled and unruly thing it grows into. I despise most genre filmmaking than considers itself artful or high-brow or, worst of all, “elevated”. But I very much like The Wind for being those things without seeming to try.

The plot, which was written by Teresa Sutherland, concerns Lizzy (Caitlin Gerard), a frontierswoman living in a remote cabin on a desolate stretch of the 19th Century American frontier. She’s married to Isaac (Ashley Zukerman) but frequently alone, increasingly suspicious of the howling wilderness and what she believes to be a supernatural presence borne of the land itself. Her descent into madness is accelerated by the arrival of a newlywed couple, Emma (Julia Goldani Telles) and Gideon (Dylan McTee), at a nearby homestead, and as she loses a grasp of her own narrative, it is relayed in increasingly obscure and unreliable ways, full of misremembering and delusion, all treated with equal seriousness and mounting mistrust.

The Wind is alienating for this reason, almost hostile to its audience, but it’s anchored firmly in the headspace of Lizzy, whom Gerard keeps compelling and sympathetic throughout. Her performance is one of the year’s best and the main reason why The Wind works; that and Emma Tammi‘s stellar direction, which blurs the lines between real and imagined, and knows when to shunt the story backward or forwards to wring as much suspense as possible from the escalating despair.

The lean, precise construction of The Wind only sustains it so long, mind. It’s a short film at 87 minutes but feels a bit longer, especially towards the end, as the narrative runs out of steam and starts to lean more against rote scares and bouts of violence. But while The Wind can’t quite sustain its mystery or its tension, that it developed both so capably in the first place suggests Tammi is a talent to keep an eye on.

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